Canaries warned as U’s win huge pay-out
NORWICH City are facing a half-a-million pound bill for their appointment of manager Paul Lambert from Colchester United.
A Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC) has ruled that the Norfolk club did illegally approach and appoint Lambert – as well as backroom staff Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa – last August – after the Canaries had lost 7-1 to the U’s on the opening day of the season.
The war of words between the East Anglian rivals looks set to continue, though, with U’s chairman Robbie Cowling considering an appeal for a further points deduction and also calling for his Norwich counterpart Alan Bowkett to resign.
The breach of the Football League’s Regulation 20 has seen Norwich, who went on to win promotion to the Championship after appointing the Scot – ordered to pay �425,000 in compensation to Colchester as well as a further �75,000 fine.
The Norfolk club also face a suspended fine of �125,000, only to be activated in the event that they commit a further breach of Regulation 20 during the next two years.
Cowling said: “When we first spoke to them (Norwich) we asked for �400,000 and they offered us �160,000. They later raised it to �180,000 but wanted to pay it over instalments.
“I therefore think the compensation figure is fair, but effectively their punishment for breaking the rules is a �75,000 fine and I don’t think that’s a punishment to fit the crime.
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“They did everything they could to delay the tribunal process and I think a six-point deduction starting next season would have been fair.
“We are still considering whether we should appeal against these findings.”
Norwich City’s solicitor Dan Chapman said: “Norwich City did admit a breach of Regulation 20 and were therefore aware that a sanction would be imposed.
“We felt that Colchester failed to engage in the process of negotiation and continually ‘moved the goalposts’ in terms of what they were seeking and why.
“We are pleased that our submission that a points deduction would be wholly inappropriate and unprecedented was accepted by the FDC.”
City chairman Bowkett said that the club would not be appealing against the decision and added that he hoped that the relationship between his and Colchester’s board should ‘resume its normal friendly rivalry’.
Cowling, who is pushing for a full disclosure of the findings, is not letting the issue lie, though. He added: “He (Alan Bowkett) stood up at his AGM (in February) and told the club’s shareholders that their approach had been legal when – just days previous – their solicitor admitted a rules breach to us. I think that now makes his position untenable.”